The collection consists of correspondence written to Frank Frazitta during his World War II service, diaries he wrote during the war, photographs taken of Naval activities and crewmembers during the war and at reunions in the 1990s, notes and clippings mostly related to crewmember reunions, and documents related to the WISEMAN’s wartime service.
The diaries are sporadic and some months are not covered. The inclusive dates covered are April 30-May 21, 1943, May –July 1943, January-April 1944, and March-November 1945. The earliest diary (April-May 1943) contains descriptions of Frazitta’s pre-war activities and his preparations for joining the Navy. The bulk of his diary entries cover the period of January 9 through May 8, 1945. This diary begins with descriptions of life at the Naval Training Center in Norfolk. Further entries describe the USS WISEMAN’s first mission to North Africa (May 24 to July 10, 1944) and include a description of a U-boat encounter. There are many entries related to recreational activities while Frank is on liberty both in the States and abroad. Further entries describe the WISEMAN’s next mission (October 12 to December 3, 1944) to Palermo, Sicily. Frank provides descriptions of conditions in Palermo harbor and in the city itself. Entries written on a ‘Service Writing Tablet’ (January 25 to May 8, 1945) describe operations of the WISEMAN as a power supply in Manila. These include detailed descriptions of life and conditions in Manila and include an account of a Japanese attempt to sabotage the WISEMAN. Other booklets included are an electrician’s workbook containing handwritten notes and a diagram, and a 1942 pocket diary containing addresses, a list of WISEMAN’s ports-of-call throughout the war, a listing of funds that Frazitta drew while in service and an itinerary covering his war service through March 1945. Frazitta also provides a photocopy of a manuscript about his time in World War II that he compiled in 1990 from all of his diaries, including some that aren’t in this collection.
A lot of the correspondence covering the period of November 1942 through November 1945 includes letters to Frazitta from young women in the States, many of whom were writing to members of the Armed Forces to show their support and ease their loneliness during time away from home and in harm’s way. These letters give information about dances, shows, and other events in the States, including an account of a catastrophic gas tank explosion (October 1943) in Easton, Massachusetts. Other correspondence to Frazitta comes from fellow members of the Armed Forces and provides information about the war in Italy and North Africa, as well as military training and boot camp. Letters from various shipmates and other friends in the Navy provide information about daily life aboard naval vessels in WW II.
This collection contains many photographs taken by Frazitta and other crewmembers of the WISEMAN and the places it visited during the war, including Bizerte, North Africa, Palermo, Sicily, and Manila Bay in the Philippines. There are pictures of bombed-out ships and buildings in both Palermo and Manila, Japanese prisoners being moved in Manila, WISEMAN operations, and many pictures of Frazitta and other crewmembers onboard the WISEMAN. Other photographs show the WISEMAN being refueled at sea and being used as a power source. Several pictures are more recent and depict WISEMAN reunion gatherings.
Clippings and miscellany include newspaper articles related to the WISEMAN, crew rosters, two written histories of the WISEMAN, and more recent clippings and announcements related to reunions for former members of the WISEMAN’s crew.